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Business Air News Bulletin
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.

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Sloane Helicopters
Aircraft

Robinson R66

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Sloane's sales manager to spread the word on R66
Sloane Helicopters has appointed Rick Andrew as Robinson sales manager. Originally from New Zealand, Andrew has lived in the UK for five years and holds a PPL.
Read this story in our December 2016 printed issue.

Sloane Helicopters has appointed Rick Andrew as Robinson sales manager. Originally from New Zealand, Andrew has lived in the UK for five years and holds a PPL.

The company is a dealer and ASC in the UK and Ireland for Robinson and Leonardo, and offers management, charter and training from its headquarters in Sywell Aerodrome, Northamptonshire and base in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.

EBAN spoke to Andrew about his plans for spreading the word about the R66: “Initially with the R66 it is going to be about brand awareness, letting people know that it is out there as the next option up from the 44,” he says. “We are improving our online marketing and have campaigns building up to the summer months. That is our focus at the moment.

“You can still get hold of the R66 for on or just under the million dollar mark, while basic models of many of its rivals are a lot more than that. Not only does it come in a lot cheaper than its competitors, but it also has the benefit of being a Robinson. It will be a better performing machine for those who know how to fly it. It is nice to tour in.”

The load capacity of the aircraft is favourable. “You can get extra baggage on it, which you can't with the R44, which can only accommodate four people with four small bags as a maximum,” he continues. “The increased load, distance and speed is going to make a huge difference to someone who wants it for that reason.”

Andrew comes from a fixed wing background and has held a PPL for 20 years, working in sales and marketing for most of his life. Currently in the process of completing a rotary conversion, he eventually plans to transfer on to the R66.

He says that noise and power are big selling points for the aircraft. “It sounds like a high end helicopter,” he explains. “You get a lot more power, and talking to the instructors this is something they really like, as it enables them to perform at the next level.

“The pilot who flies himself is our typical market; the owner/operator. If they have got the money then the R66 is the right aircraft for them. I imagine that the training schools will still use it and get people type rated on it, but I do think the owner/operator will be the main market.

“In terms of its rivals, the Bell 505 is a nice-looking aircraft but it is not really proven yet. The Robinson 44 is one of the most popular helicopters ever. It has got a lot of history behind it, but the Bell is an unknown quantity at the moment. In four or five years we will have a better picture of that. At the moment the Robinson edges it in terms of track record.”

He thinks that current R44 fliers will make the jump up to the 66: “When you fly them both you have the familiarity, but the 66 is the next level up, no doubt about it. You certainly notice it once you're in it.

“We are still at the planning stage as far as sales strategy goes. We are going to get a new 66 out there in the spring and summer to do a tour round the countryside and do a lot of trial flights for potential owners and instructors, to get people into it to see what it's all about.

“It is one thing knowing about it and another actually hopping in it. If you are thinking of buying the 44, a trial flight may well persuade you to go one further.”

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